JLR boss admits that company expectations that the new SUV would “sell itself” were not borne out
Land Rover’s global sales operations director Andy Goss has admitted that the company and its UK dealers might have been “a bit complacent” about sales of the new Range Rover Velar after the huge interest generated by its launch.
A relatively low ratio of test drives to orders took the company by surprise. Although Velar prices started from £44,380, some launch editions cost as much as £85,450. The introduction of a flexible pricing strategy has since brought a surge of UK sales for the BMW X6 and Porsche Macan rival.
“We had a couple of things to learn if I’m honest, some adjustments to make,” said Goss. “The moment the car was revealed, the enquiry lines were red hot and we were smashing our targets like never before, and I think that led us to believe that the car would sell itself.
“But, of course, life isn’t that easy. We needed to reassess the right approach. Our dealers had taken the levels of interest and set in stone that they wouldn’t need to discount the car to sell it, for instance.
“Perhaps they saw a surfeit of milk and honey and felt they didn’t have to try as hard as perhaps they might otherwise.
“The adjustments we had to make were small: a tweak in the interest rates on finance and opening up the space for dealers to negotiate a bit, to give customers what they rightly want and expect – a good-value deal.
“Once we’d done that the orders came in quickly, and last month the Velar comfortably outsold the [Porsche] Macan.”
So far, only around 1 in 5 Velar sales have been to Range Rover Evoque customers trading up, with “very few” Range Rover Sport customers trading down to it. By far the biggest percentage of Velar sales are being made to new Land Rover customers. It’s now possible to secure dealer discounts of up to £2000 on the car.